I have been promising to do this blog post for what feels like years now.
I have been putting it off because I wanted to make sure I could dedicate enough time to answer the most frequently asked questions & eloquently put into words just how important it is to format your CV correctly.
Last May, I started looking to fill a Junior Stewardess position I had onboard. Using my social media & various Facebook groups, I shared that I was more than happy to take green candidates. I’ve said it before that I don’t feel as though enough Chief Stews hire green stews. While many Captains won’t allow it, I had the freedom to pick my team & I wouldn’t let this opportunity go to waste. Within 24 hours, I had over 400 CV’S!!! To ensure the hiring process was as fair as possible, I went through & reviewed every single CV, reference letter & email. I sat in my office until 10 pm for three days in a row; I just found it so interesting to see various layouts, photographs, introductions, etc. It was very apparent who had put time into their CV & who had just thrown it together. I’m sure it isn’t surprising that I only shortlisted candidates who had put considerable amounts of effort into their CVs.
So, I am here to help!
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from Stewardesses regarding CVs and my answers! Please keep in mind that this is just based on my opinion.
What basics should I follow?
I follow five rules:
- CV’s should be no longer than two pages
- Keep font size between 10-12
- Don’t have significant gaps – if your CV is only 1 page, that’s fine!
- Save it as a .doc if you are using a Mac & always send your CV as a PDF to boats & .doc to crew, agents,
- When saving your CV, ensure it is listed, for example, Anna Clarke CV.
The general order I follow is:
- Personal Info & Photograph
What personal information should I put in my CV?
I list my info on the top left corner with a photograph on the top right side. I list the following:
- First & Last Name (This is the header – so make it a larger font)
- Position Wanted (This is the sub-header, write Stewardess, Stewardess/Masseuse, etc.)
- Telephone Number
- Email Address
- Date of Birth
- Nationality & visas held
*Include expiry dates for your passport(s) & visas
- Current Location
*BE HONEST If you are shortlisted because you say you’re in Antibes when you are actually in Cape Town – then you are already misleading the vessel
*I always write “Excellent, No Tattoos, Non-Smoker.”
When you are a Greenie with no experience, what should you put on your CV?
Below the personal details are the Objective Paragraph. This is your time to shine! Share how your previous experiences have set you up to take on this new challenge. Have you worked in a bar? Share that your boutique bar experience has provided you with excellent bespoke cocktail knowledge. Write out what you are looking for in an Interior Team, for example: “I am looking forward to joining a dynamic Interior team with a heavy focus on training & teamwork.” It is ALL about wording & being confident in your experience.
Next, list all of your previous jobs in chronological order.
Yachting-related positions, including daywork, come first & then move onto land experience. Write a least 2-3 FULL sentences about each position you held. Go into depth about all hospitality (service, food & beverage, housekeeping, laundry & floristry), organisation, administration skills that you have learned whilst on the job.
When sharing about your yachting experience, write out the following:
Date’s Onboard (left side of the page), Name of Vessel (centre of page), Position Held (right side of the page)
Paragraph about the position
Oct 2019 – 2020, M/Y Lilly, Chief Stewardess
I joined M/Y Lilly during a very busy shipyard season…
What should I leave off of my CV?
- Any info relating to High School, as it makes you come across as very young
- There is no need to list the negative reasons why you have left previous positions; keep it POSITIVE
- Don’t write anything regarding salary, enquire about this during the Interview
I only have 1 season’s experience; what should I be sharing about that vessel?
I have seen Stewardess with 1 season experience Far too often only write a few words about their time onboard; this is NOT acceptable. Here are a few questions to consider when typing out your experience:
- How many guest cabins were you responsible for?
- Did you assist with provisioning?
- What type of service did you do onboard? Silver service, plated, buffet, etc.
- Was it strict or a family atmosphere with the guests?
- Did you perform a solo drinks service at night?
- Are you comfortable detailing a cabin by yourself?
- What was your highlight while onboard?
For my CV photo, should I wear a Polo or Shirt?
The all-important photo is a topic that will probably be debated until the end of time! However, my personal preference is as follows:
- White fitted polo shirt
- Crop the image, chest it
- Have your hair neatly pulled back. It HAS to look tidy
- Professional and classy makeup
*Less is more & don’t overdo it
- Smile!! I want to see your smiley face!
- DO NOT TAKE A SELFIE
Keep in mind that often CV’s have to be sent to Management, Owners or the Owners Representative before the interview. Therefore, ensure that your photograph is professional-looking.
Are cover letters needed?
In my experience, I have never needed to send a cover letter. I use my introduction email as a cover letter instead and then allow my CV to speak for itself. As a Chief Stew, I seldom look at Cover Letters – my focus is on your experience and the professionalism of your CV.
I hope this helps you when you are next putting together your CV! Have a question about CVs? Let me know in the comments below, and I will be happy to answer them!
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